Arboretum: Pale Green Assassin Bug and Pickerelweed

On Friday, I ran across a bug that looked like a red, green, and yellow shrimp. Resting on a witch hazel leaf with its posterior and head held high, this insect reminded me of a katydid nymph. v belov on BugGuide identified it as the nymph of a pale green assassin bug (Zelus luridus).

Pale green assassin bug nymph
Pale green assassin bug nymph

Pale green assassin bugs have sticky legs which they use to capture small prey. According to a Western Colorado Entomology fact sheet, newly hatched nymphs cover their forelegs with the sticky coating of the egg mass, allowing them to capture prey.

I found a midge (probably Chironomus) near the ponds. These insects are found near bodies of water and look like mosquitoes. In college, we found hundreds of them in our dorm room and began to dread the bloodbath we thought would follow. In time, we found them harmless.

A quick way to tell midges apart from mosquitoes: mosquitoes hold their back legs off the ground, while midges rest with their front legs aloft.

Midge resting on a leaf

v belov also identified this backyard barklouse (Polypsocus corruptus). I found it on the leaf of a spreading hawthorn (Crataegus disperma). Bark lice feed on organic material such as lichens and fungi attached to tree bark.

Backyard barklouse
Backyard barklouse

The pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata) in the ponds is in flower. These plants grow under water with tall, heart-shaped leaves rising above the water line. The lavender flowers are displayed on spikes.

Pickerelweed in bloom
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